Leaf Table, 1992
Steel, slumped glass and polished plate glass top
30in x 42in x 84in, polished plate glass top measures 5/8in thick
In 1977, Gibian studied abroad at the Universidad de Barcelona so he could be in close proximity to the curvilinear masterpieces of Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Revered for his distinctive architectural style, Gaudí engineered his own structures organically, and looked to nature as his sourcebook.
Combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms, all his works feature catenary arches which form naturally, as when a rope is hung. To determine the loads on the arches of his
architectural opus, the Sagrada Família Cathedral, he hung measured sacks of lead on inverted models.
In Leaf Table, Gibian follows suit with Gaudí by allowing the structure to develop organically. The curved ribs supporting the slumping glass top were bent and assembled upside down on a
flat surface and the larger structural members grew from there. Gibian initially experimented with slumping glass over steel forms at his 1989 “Intersections” exhibition at BACA Downtown Gallery in Brooklyn. Leaf Table evolved from this exhibition series, but initially came to engender challenges that pushed the limits of slumping glass. In order to preserve the basic table function,
the tabletop could not be wavy or uneven. Therefore the artist recreated the tabletop surface through illusion. By inserting a draped bent glass unit underneath the smooth plate glass top, the curvilinear elements of the slumped glass remained visible, which created the overall effect of a giant leaf floating within the table. As a conceptual bent, Gibian inverts the traditional presentation of sculpture by placing the pedestal (the plate glass top) above the structure instead of below the work.
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